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Entries in Baltimore Orioles (38)

Friday
May112012

Best Mistake Hitters since 2010

Highest HR% on Mistake Pitches since 2010
PlayerPPAAVGSLUGK%HR%
Jose Bautista474183.396.9566.6%16.5%
David Ortiz383176.405.9714.5%15.0%
Matt Joyce25097.389.95811.3%14.7%
Shelley Duncan20475.387.89321.3%14.7%
Jim Thome21483.402.92716.9%14.6%
Russell Branyan17262.306.80619.4%14.5%
Matt Kemp508185.379.8799.7%13.7%
Pedro Alvarez21482.415.91512.2%13.4%
Mike Stanton293116.421.95610.3%13.2%
Pat Burrell24679.408.92111.4%13.2%
Josh Hamilton252124.369.8208.9%13.1%
Brennan Boesch276129.414.8757.0%12.5%
Ryan Braun458178.434.9146.7%12.0%
Brian McCann301109.367.78911.9%11.9%
Carlos Pena361139.296.74112.2%11.9%
Jorge Posada237101.257.64416.8%11.9%
Adam LaRoche24293.376.8179.7%11.8%
Joey Votto420165.466.9759.7%11.7%
Mark Reynolds459170.293.73117.6%11.4%
Carlos Quentin303109.286.7057.3%11.4%
Prince Fielder368159.365.7556.3%11.3%
Albert Pujols407162.379.8144.3%11.2%
Curtis Granderson411110.336.7763.6%11.2%
Kelly Johnson412153.329.7639.2%11.2%

Make a mistake to any of these hitters, and you're bound to pay for it. The above list includes only pitches that crossed the center of the strike zone since 2010. It's no surprise that Jose Bautista has a high HR% on mistake pitches; same for David Ortiz, Matt Kemp and a bunch of others.

I'm somewhat surprised to see Matt Joyce as #3 on the list. Of the 36 home runs he's hit since the start of 2010, 14 have come on pitches right in the center of the strike zone. Eight of those HRs came in 2011 when he hit 19 total long balls.

Nick Swisher has the most hits on mistake pitches with 80, while teammate Derek Jeter's 79 hits has him tied for second with Michael Young.

Mark Reynolds, #20 on the list, also has 30 strike outs on pitches over the middle of the plate since 2010. That's second only to Adam Dunn with 33.

Wednesday
May092012

Home Run Recap: Josh Hamilton

By now, we've all heard about Josh Hamilton's historic four homer night in Baltimore.  Here's a look at his slugging percentage heat map prior to last night's game:

Hamilton hits for power mostly on pitches middle-in.  However, all of the pitches that he took deep last night were on the outer half of the plate.

(Click image for HR video)The first pitch Hamilton saw he took over the center field fence for a two-run homer.  You can see from the heat map that the pitch was outside Hamilton's main power zone.

(Click image for HR video)This second HR off Jake Arrieta came on a pitch way outside Hamilton's power zone and on the very border of the strike zone.  It was a 93 MPH sinker that, while not in a terrible location, was left up enough for Hamilton to drive the other way.

(Click image for HR video)This 78 MPH slider from Zach Phillips was left up and right in a spot Hamilton hits particularly well.

(Click image for HR video)The last HR from Hamilton came on a Darren O'Day sinker that caught too much of the middle of the plate.  However, like the three previous HRs, this pitch was also on the outer half of the plate. 

Hamilton's four home run game (something done only 15 times before) is truly amazing. But the fact that he did it on four pitches mostly outside of his normal power zone makes it all the more interesting.

And just for kicks, here's a look at the pitch location for his double in the 5th inning:

May 8th, 2012 vs. Jake Arrieta (5th inning)Yep, another outside pitch.  It appears Hamilton's power stroke may be expanding. Good news for the Texas Rangers - bad news for the rest of the league.

Thursday
May032012

Jake Arrieta's Sinking Walk Rate

Baltimore Orioles fans have seen plenty of young arms crash and burn over the years. Entering 2012, Jake Arrieta appeared close to joining the likes of Matt Riley, Adam Loewen, Brandon Erbe, Hayden Penn and Chris Tillman in the pitching prospect graveyard. The 6-4 righty, given a $1.1 million bonus out of TCU back in 2007, compiled an 85 ERA+ in 2010-11 while posting the highest walk rate (4.4 per nine innings) of any American League starter tossing at least 200 frames. Arrieta's career prospects were quickly sinking.

A sinker, however, is a big reason why Arrieta is thriving for the shockingly competitive O's. He has cut his walk rate down to 2.1 per nine innings and boasts a 116 ERA+ after shutting down the Yankees and ending Ivan Nova's 15-game winning streak last night. Arrieta threw 44 sinkers against New York, getting strikes with 30 of them (68 percent). The 26-year-old is throwing the pitch more often -- and more accurately-- in 2012.

From 2010-11, about 21 percent of Arrieta's pitches were classified as sinkers. He often missed off the outside corner to lefties (inside to righties):

Arrieta's sinker location, 2010-11

Arrieta threw just 42 percent of his sinkers in the strike zone, well below the 50 percent average for MLB starting pitchers over that period. But this year, Arrieta has increased his sinker usage (to about one-third of his pitches) and is pounding the zone with the 93 mph offering:

Arrieta's sinker location, 2012

Arrieta has located 52 percent of his sinkers in the zone. Those extra pitches over the plate haven't come at the expense of more extra-base hits, either. Hitters are slugging .308 against Arrieta's sinker in 2012, down from .452 in 2010-11.

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